MVRHS committee approves $350,000 for immediate HVAC repairs

Repairs to the high school's heating, venting, and air conditioning system will begin soon. – MV Times file photo

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) committee met Monday night and discussed how to move forward with necessary short-term repairs to the school’s largely dysfunctional heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

A report on the school’s HVAC system, dated June 12, said, “The majority, if not all, of the HVAC equipment in the building has exceeded its expected operational life, is in various states of disrepair, and is in need of replacement.” A complete replacement is estimated to cost $4.8 million. The report outlined eight potential short-term fixes to the HVAC system.

Superintendent of Schools Matt D’Andrea said the goal is to pursue those short-term fixes, in an effort to improve air exchange, quality, and control in the building, while discussions continue over how to move forward with a complete building renovation.

Newly hired school district facilities manager Mike Taus said the immediate short-term fixes he’s identified will improve air exchange and allow for manual control of heating, keeping rooms and classes at a consistent and comfortable temperature. Replacing the domestic hot water system or water pumps could be a summer project, he said.

Mr. Taus said the repairs and upgrades could potentially keep the air system running for another three to five years, “with some love.” The price tag is estimated at $350,000.

The school committee agreed to take $250,000 from the capital needs fund, and transfer $100,000 earmarked for shingling work on the building exterior.

Addressing the long-term needs of the building, the committee agreed to give a public presentation on various building studies complete or underway at the MVRHS budget hearing at 7 pm, Monday, Nov. 30, in the Performing Arts Center. Chris Blessen of Tappe Architecture is responsible for evaluating all the studies and incorporating them into one all-encompassing building project, and will discuss his findings. The committee will look for public input on how to best utilize the information from the studies and move forward with the high school renovation.

“This will let the public know that we’re looking at all options and doing our due diligence,” MVRHS interim Principal Peg Regan said. “It will be useful, it will definitely be informational, we’ll get some good facts and figures out of it, and I think it will provoke some good community discussion.”